Are you competitive? Do you like to win? Do you argue until you have won the argument—or the other person simply gives up? Are you the parent who never lets your child win? What would you say if I told you, you will be last?
Most of us like to win, at least sometimes. We have been conditioned to believe losing is terrible. Although, those of us who have ran races have come to understand placing in the top ten or twenty percent is still pretty good.
Unfortunately, we often carry our competitive nature into our Christian viewpoint. We don’t want the person who doesn’t look like he or she belongs to come into our churches. We ostracize the person who doesn’t wear nice clothes to church. It’s alright if we serve them in a homeless shelter, but we don’t want them sitting next to us in the pew.
We read the last sentence of today’s passage or we hear it quoted and think we are the last. When we treat the children of God as though they don’t belong, we are not putting ourselves last. Unfortunately, that means Jesus will put us last. I’m sure you are wondering how I can say that.
Allow me to explain. In the parable in which Jesus states the last will be first, and the first will be last, He is talking about hiring workers. This points to His calling of all of us to work for Him. Yet, when we are like the workers who were hired first, demanding more pay, He will make us last. The point of this story is all who come to Him will receive the same reward—spending eternity with Him.
A secondary point Jesus makes is don’t hold yourself in higher regard than others. As brothers and sisters in Christ, we are all equal. That’s a tough one for many of us. Treating each other as beloved brothers and sisters irrespective of race, gender, ethnicity, social status, and any other man-made division of people is hard. We really like to think highly of ourselves.
Being believers in Jesus has made all of us equal in God’s eyes, whether we like it or not. The sooner we accept it, the better off we will be, not just because God will be more pleased with us, but we will find freedom in our acceptance of others.
I pray we all continue working for God. I pray we treat our brothers and sisters equally. I pray each one of us accepts God’s viewpoint of His children. Work for God. Accept your reward. Treat each other well. Accept your brothers and sisters.
Matthew 20:13-16 “But he answered one of them, ‘I am not being unfair to you, friend. Didn’t you agree to workfor a denarius? Take your pay and go. I want to give the one who was hired last the same as I gave you. Don’t I have the right to do what I want with my own money? Or are you envious because I am generous?’ So the last will be first, and the first will be last.”